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Improving organizational sustainability using a quality perspective

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Abstract

This article derives lessons from the quality approach for further developing the organizational sustainability approach. Taking a responsibility perspective on organizational sustainability, four issues emerge that need to be resolved, i.e. what is the responsibility?, what is the responsibility area?, who is involved in determining responsibilities and area?, and, in what way is the organization able to take care of these responsibilities?. The article explores in what way the quality approach has been dealing with these issues, which is the basis for some lessons for the sustainability approach. An important lesson is that the who is involved question should be leading. The stakeholder who is willing to pay for sustainability dominates answering the other three issues. With respect to the accounting practices, sustainability programmes could be inspired by the same need for protective and accountable behaviour as quality programmes, if the well-known negative aspects are minimized.

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